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BCW Index Gets an Overhaul for 2007; Affy, Illumina, and Luminex Among New Additions

This story originally appeared in Biocommerce Week, a newsletter that has been discontinued.
After nearly two and a half years in print, BioCommerce Week is overhauling its coverage area, adding several well-known players in the molecular biology tools industry that were previously not considered core to coverage.
The changes will result in eight new firms joining the BCW Index, which tracks the stock performance of the companies covered by BioCommerce Week. These changes should allow for a broader focus on the industry and provide a more comprehensive view of the competitive landscape for the top and mid-tier players in the molecular biology tools industry.
The eight firms being added to the Index, and which will receive regular coverage in BCW going forward, are Affymetrix, Becton Dickinson, Caliper Life Sciences, Cepheid, Illumina, Luminex, Sequenom, and Third Wave Technologies. These firms join Index components Agilent, Applied Biosystems, Beckman Coulter, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Bruker BioSciences, Invitrogen, Millipore, Molecular Devices, PerkinElmer, Qiagen, Sigma-Aldrich, Stratagene, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Waters.
The GE Healthcare unit of GE will continue to receive coverage in BioCommerce Week, but GE will no longer be part of the Index, due to its diverse makeup. In addition to GE Healthcare, several diversified firms that sell into the molecular biology tools and molecular diagnostics markets, such as Roche, Hitachi, Siemens, and Philips, will be covered more closely this year.
Following is a brief description of each of the firms that have been added to the BCW Index:
  • Affymetrix: The firm is the clear-cut market leader in the microarray space, competing with Agilent, Applied Biosystems, Illumina, CombiMatrix, and a number of smaller competitors. It also is a major player in the genotyping market and recently launched its own clinical lab unit. Affymetrix, along with partner Roche Molecular Diagnostics, won US and European approval in 2005 to sell the CYP450 AmpliChip as an in vitro diagnostic. The product is based on Affymetrix’s GeneChip platform.
  • Becton Dickinson: BD is most known for its wide array of medical devices found in hospitals and doctors’ offices worldwide. But the firm also sells flow cytometers and is involved in developing molecular diagnostic products. BD was an original member of the BCW Index, when it launched in September 2004, but was removed in the summer of 2005 after it sold its Clontech unit to Takara Bio.
  • Caliper Life Sciences: Caliper makes robotics, liquid handlers, microfluidic chips, and molecular imaging technologies. The firm competes against several firms already in the Index as well as against molecular imaging technologies made by giants such as GE Healthcare, Phillips, and Siemens. Last year, the firm acquired small-animal imaging technologies firm Xenogen for $80 million. Caliper’s goal is to offer drug-discovery products and services spanning the entire continuum from in vitro biochemical assays to in vivo small-animal testing.
  • Cepheid: The firm manufactures the GeneXpert real-time PCR instrument for life science and biothreat applications. It also sells the SmartCycler real-time thermal cycler, and markets a variety of molecular diagnostic tests and ASRs.
  • Illumina: The firm competes in the gene expression, genotyping, and molecular diagnostics markets. It sells the BeadXpress platform for multiplex testing, and is in the process of acquiring next-generation sequencing firm Solexa in a $600 million stock deal.
  • Luminex: The firm manufactures the xMAP multiplex platform and has agreements with many firms in the molecular biology tools and molecular diagnostics fields to develop tests based on this platform. Luminex recently announced a $44 million stock deal to acquire Tm Bioscience, a move that it believes will greatly enhance its offerings in the molecular diagnostics market.
  • Sequenom: The company makes the MassArray DNA analysis platform. It has products for gene expression, genotyping, DNA methylation, and molecular diagnostic applications.
  • Third Wave Technologies: Third Wave has received sporadic coverage in BioCommerce Week before, primarily because of its Invader chemistry, which is used in molecular testing applications. The firm sells a wide variety of ASRs, and last year received FDA clearance to sell its Invader UGT1A1 Molecular Assay for identifying patients who may be at risk for adverse reactions to the chemotherapy irinotecan.

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